The most important at a glance: The FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on this page answer common questions about the official wireless mesh standard from the Bluetooth® Special Interest Group (SIG, Link).
What is Bluetooth Mesh?
The Bluetooth Mesh radio protocol is an extension of the Bluetooth standard. It is based on the energy-saving Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) variant, which is used in fitness devices, smart watches, toothbrushes and other products with app remote control.
Unlike BLE, however, Bluetooth Mesh can connect many devices, enabling the exchange of data between them. Like nodes in a mesh, they form a common radio network that grows with the requirements: Additional nodes stabilize the network and extend the range if necessary.
This makes Bluetooth Mesh an ideal radio technology for wireless installation in buildings. For more information, see the detailed article on Bluetooth Mesh technology.
What manufacturers use the wireless standard?
Since Bluetooth Mesh is an extension of the official Bluetooth standard, the technology is open to all companies that use Bluetooth-certified devices. Large corporations such as Amazon, Ledvance or Osram work with it, as do medium-sized and small companies. In Germany, Häfele, JUNG, Nimbus and STEINEL have come together to form the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bluetooth Mesh, with the aim of establishing Bluetooth Mesh as a cross-manufacturer solution in building technology.
How can I recognize devices with Bluetooth Mesh?
The Bluetooth Interest Group (SIG, Link) as the international umbrella organization for the standard, makes no distinction between the different Bluetooth variants in its labeling. There is only the familiar blue logo with the white rune representing a stylized “B”. To make mesh products more recognizable, the German Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bluetooth Mesh has developed its own logo with lettering. It is shown at the top of this page and can be found in catalogs, sales documents and product information of the participating companies.
What is Bluetooth Mesh suitable for in buildings?
The low energy consumption and self-reinforcing radio network predestine Bluetooth Mesh for all areas of application in which control signals are to be distributed over a wide area. Since no cables have to be laid, the technology is particularly well suited for retrofitting in existing buildings or in inaccessible places. In addition, wireless transmission saves costs for an otherwise wired basic installation.
How many devices can the mesh network contain?
The technical specifications allow networks with up to 32,767 nodes (read more in the article on Bluetooth mesh technology). In practical use, however, there are limiting factors such as the device equipment or the number of “hops” that a signal can cover on its way. System providers set their own maximum limits. However, the reserves of the standard are more than sufficient. This is demonstrated by functioning installations with many thousands of luminaires or devices.
What is the range of Bluetooth Mesh?
That depends on several factors. One is the transmitting and receiving power of the Bluetooth device itself: The higher its power consumption, the greater the radio range as a rule. Outdoors it can be up to 100 meters, indoors weak signals may only reach a few meters. Sources of interference such as radio transmitters in the same frequency band (2.4 GHz) or a massive construction can hinder transmission. However, this does not play such a big role in Bluetooth Mesh systems because powered devices act as so-called relay nodes to receive and forward the signals. By placing them cleverly, the radio supply can be improved if necessary and the range extended at the same time.
How secure is the radio standard?
During the more than 20-year history of the Bluetooth standard, security gaps have also appeared – and have been fixed. With each generation, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has introduced stronger protection mechanisms, so that the current version 5.0 is considered to be exceptionally secure. Encrypted connections and authentication that identifies new devices as trustworthy make attacks from the outside virtually impossible – as long as the devices are configured correctly. Manufacturers therefore have a special responsibility to contribute to security with their device design. A carefully designed product from a responsible vendor is the best protection for the network.
Are all products compatible with each other?
Besides products with the official Mesh standard, there are other Bluetooth solutions that use a mesh function. These are manufacturer systems, some of which were created before the specifications of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). As proprietary radio solutions, they cannot be combined with the SIG’s Bluetooth Mesh. In principle, the devices only work with their peers.
Devices that use the official Mesh function are technically compatible because they speak the same language. A product from manufacturer A can therefore complement a system of brand B or C. But in order for it to work there and be fully usable, the system providers must store its properties in their own software. Otherwise, the products will not know what to do with each other. That’s why the members of the Bluetooth Mesh working group have agreed to work together – to make their devices and apps as compatible as possible.
Who is installing products with Bluetooth Mesh?
That depends on the device category. Do-it-yourself products for end consumers, such as remote-controlled bulbs or voice-controlled speakers, can be installed without assistance using a smartphone. Professional systems for building technology are planned and configured by a specialist company, which then also carries out the installation on site.
Does Bluetooth Mesh support the Matter standard?
The manufacturer-independent Matter standard (for more information, visit matter-smarthome.de) connects devices and installations with a variety of control systems. A Matter-compatible product can be operated via Apple’s smart home ecosystem (Apple Home) as well as via Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Samsung SmartThings.
The Bluetooth mesh network is connected to this network via a Matter bridge. These are solutions that translate a radio protocol such as Bluetooth, Z-Wave or Zigbee into the language of Matter. The bridge function can be integrated into a separate base station such as the JUNG HOME Gateway or be located directly in Bluetooth devices. It ensures that products from the mesh appear in any Matter-enabled app or control.